Singapore bank lets Apple customers voice their transactions

OCBC Bank has turned on voice-based commands for mobile customers with access to Apple's virtual assistant Siri, allowing them to check their bank accounts or make e-payments.

OCBC Bank has turned on voice-based commands for iPhone users, allowing them to check their bank accounts or make e-payments via Apple's virtual assistant Siri.

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These customers would be able to check their bank account balance, credit card details, and make e-payments including those linked or not linked to the local peer-to-peer PayNow service, the Singapore bank said.

It added that the platform was developed in-house and a similar voice-command service was introduced to corporate banking customers last October.

To use the new service, Apple customers would need to launch the latest version of OCBC's mobile banking app and running no later than the iOS11 platform. They then could check their balance account by saying "Hey Siri, what's my balance" or "how much money do I have in my bank account", OCBC said. They could authenticate transactions through fingerprint or facial recognition, the latter of which was available only on iPhone X.

OCBC's head of e-business Singapore Aditya Gupta said: "This is the new digital--conversational, more natural, and faster access to banking. This latest service...[brings us] closer to making natural language voice-activated banking and payments a reality."

Gupta added that the bank would look to include other voice-command services in future, such as bill payments, money management, and other frequent servicing requests.

OCBC last October announced a partnership with local telco StarHub to tap data insights from each other's clientele and jointly develop products and services they said would offer more customised customer experience.

They said the partnership would encompass a year-long S$6 million (US$4.39 million) investment in research and product development and include joint marketing initiatives, such as the setting up of stores to showcase their services.